FORSYTH — If it wasn’t for the hundreds of fans lining the course on Saturday afternoon, most people would have thought that Danville senior Johnny Leverenz was just out for a simple training run during the IHSA Class 2A sectional meet at Hickory Point Golf Course.
Leverenz left no doubt about who was the top runner during the event. He built a 20-second lead on the first of two laps on the 1.5-mile course and cruised to the victory by 28 seconds over Murphy Affolder from Mascoutah.
“I ran just like I did during regionals last week,’’ said Leverenz, who has won his two postseason races by a combined 57 seconds. “I started strong on the first mile and then I held fast for the second and third miles.’’
Once again, Danville coach Todd Orvis was pleasantly surprised that Leverenz didn’t have any competition.
“I thought Johnny would have a close race, but he didn’t allow it,’’ Orvis said. “It was over again by the first half-mile.
“The fact that he is that far ahead of his competitors, it’s a good sign. There are some really good guys in this race from downstate.’’
But, it’s also a little bit of a concern because both Leverenz and Orvis know that the competition level is really going to pick up in next week’s IHSA Class 2A state meet at Detweiler Park in Peoria.
“Looking at the times from last year, Johnny is about 20-25 seconds faster than this year. He dropped 15 seconds from this meet to the state meet last year,’’ said Orvis as Leverenz finished ninth in the state meet last year with a time of 14:45. “I’m thinking that he will need to be under 14:30 to have an opportunity to contend for the title.’’
So, with that idea of going to a second individual state title, Leverenz, who won the Class 3A 800-meter championship at the state track meet last May, knows he needs all the preparation he can get before next Saturday’s race. And how did the sectional championship get him ready?